Friday, September 12, 2008

Some more of our Band tunes.

Let me know if this is boring stuff ......

Amazing Grace.

This simple and beautiful hymn was catapulted into the popular music charts in the 1960's when it was arranged and played superbly by the pipe band of the Scottish Dragoon Guards as one track on an otherwise fairly ordinary long-playing record. It has endured as a favourite wherever pipe bands appear, and pipers know that format they are required to present must be as near as possible to the original popular setting. The unaccompanied piper at the start and the finish, with the contrasting augmentation of the full band in between, is a powerful emotion-stirring technique.

Auld Lang Syne.

An international favourite, the words of which are popularly ascribed to robert Burns. The original air is much older, and was called "I Fee'd (hired) a Lad at Michaelmass". On the world stage, this would have to be the most well known of all Scottish tunes. Sadly, it is another example of a tune that is constantly demanded of pipers, but which does not quite fit into the pipe scale. So we must make do with a wee bit of "cheating".

Cock O' the North.

The Regimental March of the Gordon Highlanders. The title of this traditional 6/8 was the nickname of the 4th Duke of Gordon, founder (in 1794) of the famous infantry regiment The Gordon Highlanders. Sadly, the regiment was disbanded in 2004 to become part of The Highlanders.

The Dark Island.

Many pipers are surprised to learn that this traditional-sounding air is a fairly modern tune (1960's) written for a film of the same name by Ian MacLaughlan. The Dark Island refers to the outer Hebridean island of Benbecula.

Farewell to the Creeks.

Composed by Piper Major James Robertson of The Gordon Highlanders.

The title extols the creeks and inlets of the Banff-Portsoy coastline of north-east Scotland where the composer came from. The tune was written in Limerick in 1919 when pipe Major Robertson had just rejoined his regiment after his experience as a prisoner of war from 1914-1918.

Old Angus

1 comment:

City of Elizabeth Pipe Band said...

I have just chanced upon your informative website note of May 19th 2008, with a further comment on December 7th 2008 about the words and history of the song to the above tune, ‘Farewell to the Creeks’.

Although six years have elapsed since this posting, it might be of interest to record that the words, and music, of the song were published in ‘101 Scottish Songs’, selected by Norman Buchan, and published by Collins (Glasgow and London), in their series of ‘Scotia Booklets’, in 1962. It is on page 116, under the title ‘The Highland Division’s Farewell to Sicily’. A note on the history is given on page 155, as follows:

“Probably the best of all ballads of World War II, this song exactly recaptured the mood of the time, 1943. Hamish Henderson, authority on folk-song in the School of Scottish Studies, and one of our leading poets, is perhaps best known for his volume ‘Elegies for the Dead in Cyrenaica’. Incidentally this song comes straight from the experience of the writer, for he himself went on to the invasion of Italy after Sicily and i was to him that Marshall Graziani surrendered his shattered forces after being Captured by Italian partisans.”

I tried unsuccessfully to enter this as a comment below the original entry on your website, so perhaps you could do this for me, or otherwise deal with this email as you think fit.

Best wishes,

Hugh Dinwoodie, Edinburgh.